Mark Parsons, Thorns FC vs. Sky Blue FC, 7.2.16
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Quotes & Notes | Portland Thorns FC 2, Sky Blue FC 1 | July 2, 2016

Portland Thorns FC Quotes

Portland Thorns head coach Mark Parsons
Overall thoughts on the match…
“I think in the first half it was a bit scary how much success they were getting in wide areas. We felt like we couldn’t stop the bleeding quickly enough and it ended in a goal. Sometimes you get through that. They were tactically a bit better in getting in those areas and getting good success. You hope that you can weather the storm before you fix it. I think at halftime we did. With Celeste [Boureille], there was a certain phase that we then pulled her at right wing to become a right back and then she played 2-v-1 against Leah Galton. At halftime we solved it more as a team. I’m really happy with the reaction of going a goal down psychologically, but I don’t think that’s ever going to be any different. We’re a very strong group. I think we looked good going forward on the break tonight and we got some good opportunities. They were opportunities that we wanted. We could have put a few more away and I think this four-game period with this group is the first outing together out there. I think it’s a good start, but we need to improve and the players will know that. We’re looking forward to getting better for next week against [FC Kansas City].”

On the chemistry of the group tonight…
“Tactical cohesion and chemistry will probably need to take a couple of more games and then the period changes again. It will be a couple of more games until this tactical chemistry comes together. The thing that gets you through really tough, tight games is your togetherness and your personal chemistry in how you work for this team, this club and this city and I think every player that went out there was very selfless and unselfish. We talked about it a lot, but we are in a good position because we have a group of players and a staff that continues to put the team first and the team’s needs first. I think while we continue to do that we can keep moving forward. It’s a hard thing when you’re tired to be unselfish. It’s a hard thing when you’re not playing or you’re not playing in your position, but we’ve got a whole group who are very committed to doing that. I honestly think that’s the difference. It pulls us through. The first half was tough. I think the second half we could have put them to bed earlier and given Michelle [Betos] and the back four a bit of a calmer ending there, but we’ll take that. It’s an important three points. It’s a nice run that we’ve kind of got going here after tying a few. We’ll focus on the details next week. We have a very good team in FC Kansas City coming in and we need to recharge the batteries and be ready to go.”

On Nadia Nadim’s performance tonight…
“At halftime… I don’t ever single out individuals, and I made it very clear to the team that we get through this as a team, but I did single out Nadia and Dagny [Brynjarsdottir]. I think Nadia’s energy, spark, fight, bite; everything about her tonight was electric. I know that she’s going to want to have some of those back and improve some of her finishing. She’ll be the first one to say it because she’s got a great mindset. We talked about that and we talked about Dagny. I thought Dagny was absolutely everywhere tonight. At halftime, I thought she had made a tackle in every millimeter of the field. At the end, it was hard to control her energy. She’s been looking forward to playing center midfield. She’s put the team first. We played her up front and she put the team first. We played her on the wing and I think she had three or four months of excitement playing in center midfield and at the end we said she needs to sit. She said, ‘Yes coach.’ 60 seconds later she’s in the six-yard box trying to score. Those two have stepped up big time and we needed that, but this whole group, and you look at everyone who played a role… In the second half, there were a few times when I turned around and said to the bench, ‘Wow. Celeste Boureille is having a fantastic game.’ She’s someone that the senior players have talked about a lot in having great potential. She’s been a walk-on. I told her at the beginning season that getting a contract might be unrealistic and to use this as a training experience. I think she was one of our most impactful players tonight against a very good Sky Blue team who have experience and quality all over the pitch.”

Portland Thorns forward Nadia Nadim
On her thoughts on the match…
“We knew it was going to be a hard game because we just lost six of our starters and a lot of new players just came in and we only had less than a week to get together. They started well by scoring first and I thought we fought together and came back and won. It’s a huge victory and I’m really, really happy and proud of the team that we won.”

On playing against her former team…
“I was emotional. Obviously I was really excited to see a lot of the girls. They’re still my friends and I really care about them, but I wanted to win really, really badly. With the winning goal, I was really emotional at that point. It’s awesome that we won.”

On what goes through her head when she takes a penalty kick…
“I love being in that situation. I love that pressure on me. Mostly, I see what the goalkeeper is doing. I don’t know. I just do what I have to do.”

On her celebration after scoring the goal…
“You guys know I’m a really emotional and passionate player. It’s been a hard week. Last game against Orlando, I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t one of my best performances. All of that is in me and when you finally score it’s a great feeling. It’s an emotional moment and I’m going to show it that way.”

Portland Thorns midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir
On what she saw on the goal that she scored off of the corner kick…
“On the corner kick before, Amandine [Henry] was being marked and she wasn’t able to go to the near post, so we talked about it how no one was marking me. It’s easy when no one is marking you and I just had a free run to the near post and I just needed to get up to put it in.”

On her thoughts on the chemistry of the team tonight…
“I thought it was pretty good. I thought we played well together. We worked hard and I think the next few games coming up it will only get better. At some point, we lost the rhythm a little bit, but I thought we did well when we got it back. I think every minute we play together it’s going to be better.”

On her thoughts on the Icelandic National Team competing in Euro 2016…
“I’m really excited about the game tomorrow. Half of Iceland is probably in France right now, but I think anything is possible in soccer. No one expected Iceland to beat England. Obviously France is playing Iceland at home and they have a lot of pressure on their back. No matter the result, it’s going to look good for Iceland. They’re the underdogs, but I think anything is possible. I think it’s going to end 1-1 and we’ll beat them in penalty kicks.”

Notes:

  • Portland improved to 4-0-1 at home this season, and is now unbeaten in eight straight home matches (6-0-2), dating back to the 2015 season
  • Midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored for a second straight match. The goal was her fourth of the season and her second header goal off a set piece.
  • Brynjarsdottir and Nadim are tied for the team lead in goals with midfielder Lindsey Horan. All three have four goals each this season, which is tied for third in the NWSL in goals.
  • Midfielder Nadia Nadim tallied her first assist of the season in the match.
  • Defender Emily Menges wore the captain’s armband for the first time in her Thorns FC career in the match.
  • Menges and Nadim are the only two players to start every match for Portland this season.
  • Defender McKenzie Berryhill earned her first professional start, playing 90 minutes.
  • Portland improved to 3-3-0 at home against Sky Blue FC and has won each of the last two meetings a Providence Park by a score of 2-1.
  • Nadim made her 35th career NWSL start in the match, while midfielder Hayley Raso made her 20th career NWSL appearance.
  • Midfielder Amandine Henry appeared in her fourth straight match and played all 90 minutes. Henry now departs to join France in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
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